How Do Medical Professionals Recommend You Treat Low Back Pain?
Considering past experiences, the answer might SURPRISE you!
When our backs hurt, for many the first thing that comes to mind is to go to the doctor's office and see what can be done about it. Especially if it's awful back pain. The kind that keeps you from being able to get yourself out of bed and almost makes you sick to your stomach. One of the leading causes of emergency room visits is back pain, believe it or not.
In fact, low back pain is one of the most common reasons for all physician visits in the U.S. Most Americans have experienced low back pain. Approximately a quarter of U.S. adults reported having low back pain lasting at least one day in the past three months. Pain is categorized as acute, or less than one month in duration, subacute lasting from 1 month to 3 months, and chronic, which lasts longer than 3 months.
Primary Care Physicians, also known as your family doctors, see a lot of back and neck pain in their clinics. Some are better at musculoskeletal pain than others but in general, healthcare providers cannot be expected to be experts at everything. They just can't. Many family doctors are experts in cardiology cases or stomach problems. Some are experts in diabetes and weight loss. While others are experts at infection and lab work. But it is exceedingly rare, if not basically impossible, for a single provider to be an expert at all of them. Plus neuromusculoskeletal issues.
For that very reason, medical associations and organizations convene through committees and boards to generate the VERY BEST RECOMMENDATIONS based on what the body of research and evidence tells them. These recommendations and guidelines make life so much easier for the general medical practitioner in the field that is expected to make good, effective recommendations but is not an expert in certain areas of medicine. Not to mention other, ancillary providers like chiropractors, physical therapists, etc.
With that being said, let's talk about what these big organizations now recommend for the effective treatment of low back pain.
The American College of Physicians (ACP) recommendations for back pain treatment
With 160,000 members in countries across the globe, ACP is the largest medical-specialty society in the world. The ACP’s clinical practice guidelines are developed through a rigorous process based on an extensive review of the highest quality evidence available, including randomized control trials and data from observational studies.
The ACP updated its recommendations in 2017. They say that their recommendations are an evidence-based clinical practice guideline and they published it in Annals of Internal Medicine for medical providers to follow confidently.
- Nonpharmacologic treatment, including superficial heat, massage, acupuncture, or spinal manipulation, should be used initially for most patients with acute or subacute low back pain. Here at Creek Stone, we have all of these first-line therapies available.
- When pharmacologic treatment is desired, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or skeletal muscle relaxants should be used. Here at Creek Stone, we have a medical provider for this purpose.
- Nonpharmacologic treatment, including exercise, multidisciplinary rehabilitation, acupuncture, mindfulness-based stress reduction, tai chi, yoga, motor control exercise, progressive relaxation, biofeedback, low-level laser therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, or spinal manipulation, should be used initially for most patients who have chronic low back pain. We have several of these available for our patients here at Creek Stone.
- For patients who have chronic low back pain and do not respond to nonpharmacologic therapy, NSAIDs should be used. Tramadol or duloxetine should be considered for those patients who do not respond to or do not tolerate NSAIDs.
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) recommendations for back pain treatment
The American Academy of Family Physicians is the national association of family doctors. It is one of the largest national medical organizations, with 127,600 members globally. The AAFP updated its back pain treatment recommendations in 2017 to back up and support the recommendations of the ACP.
Many times, patients tend to discount certain things that providers tell them. Sometimes they don't trust what a family doctor tells them because a different family doctor didn't take good care of their mother. Or they don't listen to what a chiropractor or physical therapist recommends because a chiropractor or PT didn't help their sister when their sister's back was hurting and they ended up having surgery. This is understandable but let me make a couple of points on this:
- There are no guarantees in healthcare because there are simply too many variables to a person's pain.
- Just because medicine, PT, chiropractic, or whatever didn't help you or a loved one in the past, doesn't mean that these cannot help. Sometimes we just need different providers with a different sets of skills. Remember, no single provider can be an expert in everything.
- Don't depend on your personal biases or experiences when the experts have already given you guides to tell you what to do.
Whether you've had back pain for 2 weeks or 20 years, the largest MEDICAL organizations have solved the puzzle for you and have recommended you treat it with an evidence-based integrated clinic offering an evidence-based chiropractor in conjunction with other providers like medical, acupuncture, and massage.
It's just that simple. So, now that you know what to do, call us here at Creek Stone Integrated Medical at 806-355-3000 where you will be diagnosed by a Fellowship-trained orthopedic specialist, be provided and coached through targeted exercise for the pain, and have medical services, low-level laser, spinal decompression, massage, and acupuncture available to you should you choose to use them.
There are imitators but there is only one Creek Stone. The FIRST fully integrated clinic in the Texas Panhandle and still the only one with a Fellowship-trained orthopedic specialist in West Texas.
So call us at 806-355-3000. We can help.
Dr. Jeff Williams, DC, FIANM, DABFP is double Board Certified as a Fellow in Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine and Orthopedics as well as a Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Professionals, and chiropractor in Amarillo, TX. As an Amarillo chiropractor, Dr. Williams treats chronic pain, disc pain, low back pain, neck pain, whiplash injuries, and more. Dr. Williams is also the host of The Chiropractic Forward Podcast (https://www.chiropracticforward.com). Through the podcast, Dr. Williams teaches fellow chiropractors and advocates weekly for evidence-based, patient-centered practice through current and relevant research. If you have any questions for Dr. Williams, feel free to email at [email protected] Learn more about Dr. Williams and his practice at https://www.amarillochiropractor.com.
Dr. Williams was voted Best Chiropractor In Amarillo in the Best of Amarillo 2020 & 2021. Dr. Williams's full-time Amarillo chiropractic practice is Creek Stone Integrated Medical at 3501 SW 45th St., Ste. T, Amarillo, TX 79109. If you are searching for a chiropractor near me, Dr. Williams is your Amarillo Chiropractor.
As a service to our readers, Creek Stone Integrated Medical provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or another qualified clinician.